Long gone are the days when children could only expect extortionate arcades and tacky discos to keep them amused on their family holidays. The vacations of today are an altogether more cultured affair, appealing to not just multiple age ranges but different personalities too. Family camping tripsare much the same, only the freedoms they offer make them a custom holiday experience like no other.
Holidays are great for all the family, no matter what that family’s taste may be. Kids get to see a new, exciting part of the world, while adults get some much-needed time away from work or home. Camping holidays are all about the great outdoors, and as such present a variety of extra options to families, meaning there’s never a dull moment. However, don’t think that a successful family camping trip is as simple as picking a destination and packing your bags! There’s still plenty of work to be done, and choices to make, especially where the kids are concerned…
For children of all ages
Children of all ages can be a problem away from home. They have their creature comforts, whether in the form of favourite toys, books or computer consoles. Without them, travelling could prove tough. What’s more, if your child is visiting a country with hot weather for the first time, stay safe by covering them with a sun tan lotion with a strong pH every time you head outside for long periods.
Another big consideration is food. Children are, as we all know, notoriously fussy eaters. This problem can be nipped in the bud fairly easily, however, by simply taking the food they like to eat at home. This applies to all the family; if you have food at home that is either ready to go off or is of a taste acquired by a specific family member, bring it with you. It’ll save a headache later on!
The reasons listed so far represent more universal concerns for parents taking a family away on holiday. To be more specific as to how to keep kids entertained on your family camping trip, we’ve split children into three age groups for simplicity’s sake, although we’re sure you’ll agree that no two kids are ever the same!
The Attention-seeking Under-7s
Under-7s need the most attention on holiday, and can be the most draining (both physically and emotionally) if they aren’t happy. The key to keeping them calm and helping them enjoy their holiday is to cause as little disruption to their regular routine as possible. If you can, bring their favourite toys with you, and even go as far as their cot or duvet if possible. By keeping them close to their home comforts, they’ll be much more willing to accept the new place you’re taking them to.
The Tenacious Under-12s
Children under 12 are more independent and settled in their own personalities. This means that even though they’re more likely to be trusted to act responsibly, they also have their own tastes and preferences to service. Tread carefully when telling them what to do on holiday. For example, rather than giving them a specific activity to do one day, draw them in and make them a part of the decision-making process. Keeping children of this age involved and giving them choices will help believe they’re on a holiday adventure too, not just being bossed about by mum and dad.
Under-12s are also more active, which means a whole host of sport and leisure options are possible to take part in. Swimming is one, with water parks providing a brilliant way for the family to spend a day out.
A nature trail is a worthwhile activity to take under-12s on too. At that age, children have a natural curiously about the world and will get a kick out of learning new things. Couple the trail with a follow-up plan such as drawing or writing about the animals and plants they saw during the experience and you’ll have a sure-fire way to keeping the kids entertained.
The Sulky Under-16s
Older children can be a mixed bag to keep entertained on holiday. On the one hand, they’re independent and keen to do their own thing but, on the other hand, they’re independent and keen to do their own thing! Sportier teenagers can take advantages of tennis courts and running tracks, although mums and dads may do well not to accept any challenges that come their way lest they get thoroughly thrashed by their offspring!
An alternative is to take advantage of the outdoor environment and do something truly different. White water rafting, for example, gets the pulse racing and provides enough challenge for both parents and young adults alike. Rock climbing also fits the same bill, but it may not be the ideal for those without a head for heights (at this point, it’s worth pointing out that your E111 insurance really is an essential!).
It’s also not uncommon for children of this age to make friends whenever they go on holiday. Be sure they’re not fraternising with any old riff-raff, of course, but don’t stand in their way. After all, such friendships could result in a well needed breather…
Entertaining the kids on holiday is no easy task, so be patient and find what works best for you. Mostly, be sure to enjoy your family camping holiday!